Marla kept hearing the words her daughter said to her shortly before she died: “Mom, I know this is going to be really hard on you, but I don’t want it to ruin your life.” Diagnosed at age seven with an adult form of leukemia, Marla’s daughter Nicole received a marrow transplant from her brother. But after just six years, Nicole relapsed and lost her battle with cancer at the early age of 14. It was a devastating loss. And it was the constant memory of Nicole’s words that enabled Marla to move forward.
In Nicole’s memory, her family founded an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, with a mission to help children waiting for a cure. Be The Match has been a beneficiary of Marla’s tireless efforts. Funds raised help add potential donors to the Be The Match Registry® and support transplant research to improve outcomes for patients. Marla has also supported our mission in many other ways. She sponsored Be The Match recruitment drives, supported our Be The One Run in Tampa, Florida, and signed up to be a volunteer marrow courier. “It is such a privilege to be entrusted to deliver what is literally someone’s new life,” said Marla. “I am so grateful to be a link in the chain of loving actions that began with someone who attended a marrow drive, registered as a potential donor, and ultimately decided to give a stranger the gift of life.”
As Marla’s motto reminds us, “One person cannot do everything, but everyone can do something.”
Joining the Be The Match Registry is one important step toward giving patients hope, especially if you are between the ages of 18 and 44. Research shows that younger donors provide the greatest chance for transplant success. While every member of the registry is critical to saving lives, registry members ages 18 to 44 are requested by transplant physicians more than 90 percent of the time.
There are many ways you can help patients. Consider making a financial contribution, raising funds, volunteering your time or helping us spread the word about the need for registry members between the ages of 18 to 44. However you choose to become involved, you give patients more hope for a cure. We need you!